Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Ritual to Let Go of the Past

Creating Rituals, Ritual to Let Go, Ritual to Heal, Healing Ritual, Healing Ritual Hawaii
Sometimes, letting go of an old hurt or problem takes more than an act of will. You consciously make an effort to forget about it, you talk to friends and counselors, you write about it, you pray and meditate—and still, the issue nags you like a mosquito that just won’t quit. If you’ve been down this road and still suffer from your hurt or issue, you might want to try a special ceremony to purge the problem from your life for good.

This is a ritual for marking the death of your problem; for burying it:

1. Enlist a support team to share in the ritual with you
. Even if you want to keep the problem a secret, this step is important. Knowing that there are people who are for you, who “have your back,” is key. Also, when you perform the ritual with a circle of people, you create amplified energy toward eradicating the issue. Even one other person will be a help, but if you can gather a circle of five to seven, that will be best.

2. Create a space for the ritual. A beautiful place outdoors is best. The space should inspire you with a feeling of peace and safety. Mark the spot with objects that represent the life you want to move toward—and with objects that inspire you with a feeling of sanctity. Flowers, crystals, photographs, and so on work well.

3. Gather your support circle together. Write down the problem and describe it in detail. Then, if possible for you, describe the problem aloud to your circle. This can be difficult if you feel shame about the issue, but again, this step can be of enormous help. One way to ease the difficulty can be to invite others to participate by also sharing and then purging their issues, so that it becomes a group purging ritual. Invite those in your circle to offer their support and good wishes, both aloud and inwardly, to help you become free of the problem.

4. Light a match to your paper, and watch your problem burn. Please make sure that you have a dish or plate of some sort to burn upon, and create a safe place to do this—you can, for instance, have a metal barrel to toss burning papers into.

5. When the problem has burned, bury the ashes.

6. Offer an affirmation aloud, such as “I am now free of my problem of _______. I do not need it any longer. I am now free to go on to the next steps in my life. I am grateful for the help I have received in saying goodbye to this problem. May I be of help to others who need to let go of the issues that bind them.”

If you wish, you can mark the end of the ceremony with music, or burning of sage, or a shared meal.

I sincerely hope that this ceremony helps you move beyond whatever holds you back. Please let me know how it works for you, and please share if you have any suggestions for making it even more powerful or effective.

Many Blessings,
Hiyaguha, The Life-Change Coach

Dr. Hiyaguha Cohen offers life coaching by Skype or phone and in-person Hawaii counseling. Click HERE to go to her website.

Thank you for visiting the Radical Love blog!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cool Ways to Meet New People

Feeling isolated? Spending too much time on the computer and not enough time face-to-face with actual humans? Or just moved to a new place where you know nobody? Stop moping! There are lots of ways to break out of loneliness—but you need to take that first step. Here are some great methods for quickly connecting with likeminded souls:

1. Go to This site allows you to join groups in your area around common interests, or to start a group of your own.For instance, where I live in Santa Fe, the Meetup site lists regular meetings around reading, writing, poker, French, politics, philosophy, knitting, movie-going, meditation, mothering, technology, and so on. Just click on the group that interests you, sign up, and then show up for the meeting. Membership is usually free.

2. Check in your area. Click on “Community” and then “Groups” or “Activities.” A recent search in my city yielded book groups, women’s groups, personal growth groups, and many other interesting possibilities.

3. Invite your neighbors to some event at your home—even if they haven’t reached out to you. Try a barbecue, a high tea, or even a video viewing.

4. Join…a church, a club, a political group, a class, a volunteer organization. Check your Chamber of Commerce for lists of existing organizations or educational opportunities.

Once you find interesting people, do NOT wait for them to extend a hand to you—it may never happen, even if they like you a lot. Instead, take a deep breath and make some overture to get together. Invite the potential friend to meet you for coffee, or to go for a long walk with your dogs, or to come over for dinner. If that doesn’t work out, move down your list to the next person.

It’s up to YOU to find the amazing and wonderful people in your vicinity—they’re out there, but you’ll probably have to break out of your shell a bit to connect to them. For some this process comes naturally, but for others, it's a huge stretch. I promise you that it's worth the effort.

Do you have other avenues for meeting people offline? Please share your suggestions with the rest of us.

Many Blessings,
The Life Change Coach

Dr. Hiyaguha Cohen offers life coaching by Skype or phone and in-person Hawaii counseling. Click HERE to go to her website.

Thank you for visiting the Radical Love blog!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Accessing Your Inner Guidance

listening to inner guidance, inner guidance
Let's face it: most of us would like to wake up one morning to find a note from God on the night table telling us exactly what we should be doing. This is especially true when things go wrong, when we have a difficult choice to make. We want answers, clarity. And since that note from God doesn't show up even after we implore the heavens, we turn to anyone with an opinion--psychics, therapists, clergy, spouses and so on --seeking advice, seeking answers.

And getting advice is good--except that in collecting everybody else's opinion, you may forget to consult the most important source of wisdom and insight and knowledge--yourself. I truly believe that each of us holds the ultimate wisdom for ourselves. We just need to learn how to access that wisdom and be fearless when answers come.

Here are a few techniques that might help you to discern your own inner voice:

1. Notice when your heart lights up. Look around your room and when you see something that you love, pay attention to all the sensations that thing elicits in you. Mentally describe how that object makes you feel, giving words to the sensations and writing your words down. Now look around for something that turns you off and do the same thing. Try repeating this in a room full of people, noting how your body reacts to people who draw you and people who repulse you. Use your reactions as a blueprint for creating your psychic radar device, letting it guide you to those things that light you up and away from those that make you uncomfortable whenever you need to make a decision, large or small.

2. Pay attention to your solar plexus. When you can't tell how you feel about something, put your hand over your solar plexus and quickly ask yourself, "Do I like/want this thing?" See if you get a hint of a "uh huh" or a "no."

3. Clear your mind and invoke. Pray, meditate, listen to music, walk in nature--do whatever helps you to clear your mind and go to that calm place within yourself. Once you reach that state, take out a notebook and try not to think. Just pose your question and start writing. Some of you may feel that the Divine guides your hand; for others, it will clearly feel like your own inner wisdom writes through you. It doesn't matter--the results will probably astound you. This method really works!

Once you get some hints that shed light on your dilemma, it makes sense to also draw on the wisdom of others. That's the time to assemble your support team for validation and to deepen your insights. But, of course, if the above methods don't work--don't wait. Reach out! Sometimes we do need others to lead us back to ourselves.

Many blessings,

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finding Your Perfect Spot

perfect location, great towns, locational astrology
You wouldn’t release a Polar Bear in Hawaii nor a parrot in Helsinki; you wouldn’t raise a kangaroo in Newark nor a hippo in Queens. I truly believe that, like the animals, most of us have a best spot on the globe, a place that resonates for us, and while some can manage to adjust to any environment, others really are “geographic sensitives.” We need to find our place.

Many years ago, I moved from New England to Washington, D.C. From the very start, I felt like I had landed on Mars. I missed everything about New England—the stone walls, the colonial architecture, the curving roads, the evergreen foliage. I simply couldn’t relate to Washington’s neat streets laid out in a grid, nor to all the traffic. And yet, a dear friend of mine thrives in Washington. She has little use for the undeveloped outposts I’ve lived and loved.

The price of living in the wrong place can be high. For me, Washington brought on near catatonia. I just didn’t feel like myself. In fact, I got very ill. Moving away from that city worked an instant cure—and I know many people who have had similar experiences.

If YOU don’t feel joy when you look out your window, if you sometimes wonder if other places might bring out better aspects of yourself—you might want to check out where you “belong,” according to the experts.

How can you find your best spot? Here are a few resources that might help: This wonderful site asks a slew of detailed questions to help you discover where in the US you’ll find compatible climate, geographical features, culture, and people. Plus, it has loads of information about living in the various destinations.

Locational Astrology. If you believe in astrology, take it to the next level with a geographical astrology reading. You’ll learn what energies will rule for you in various locations, what your “best spots” are, and what places to avoid. I recommend Moses Sinegar of Astrology of the Soul.

100 Best Art Towns in America. If you’re an artistic type or just love artsy people, this book offers a great resource.

Enjoy the quest, and if you know of any other resources for finding interesting places to land, please share them here. I’ll talk about how to survive the “wrong” spot in a future blog.

Blessings,Hiyaguha, The Life-Change Coach

Monday, March 10, 2008

Self-Love Ritual #3: Create a Personal Refuge

When my dog gets frightened, she runs to her bed and huddles there. Animals naturally seek refuge when stressed, and perhaps we can take a lesson from their wisdom.

Remember playing "tag" as a kid--and having "home base" as a designated safe place? Without home base, the game would have been too stressful. Likewise, when the adult game of life gets too tense and difficult, it helps to have a home base--a protected sanctuary where nobody can disturb you, where you can take a breather away from the bills, the emails, the phone calls, the problems and conflicts. And this home base--this refuge--can be your own safe place to retreat to whenever problems assail you -- a place for regeneration, self-nurturing, protection.

How to Create Your Own Refuge

1. SET YOUR INTENT. Your refuge is your place. It should not be shared with anyone else. So first, if you share your home with others, you must give yourself permission to have a special place just for you--just for your own comfort and nurturing. As you design your refuge, remind yourself that you are creating this space for your own growth and care.

2. LOCATION. If possible, choose a permanent location in your home for your refuge. It can be as grand as an entire room, or as modest as a carboard box covered with beautiful cloth in a corner. I once knew a man who lived in such a tiny apartment that his only option was to open his oven door and put a cloth over it whenever he needed refuge. Outdoor refuges also can work well.

3. OBJECTS TO CREATE THE REFUGE. Decorate your refuge with any objects that uplift, inspire, and comfort you. Possibilities include candles, fresh flowers, crystals, favorite rocks or seashells, photographs of people who fill you with joy or inspiration, photos of yourself at your best, reminders of things you're proud of, objects from nature or pictures that inspire you, a favorite blanket, a cozy pillow, aphorisms you love, music that relaxes you, paints, keyboards, drums, and so on.

4. INAUGURATING YOUR REFUGE. It's nice to have a special ceremony to initiate your refuge. Design your own inauguration, drawing from whatever traditions resonate for you. Some people like to burn sage or incense, which does set a tone of sanctity. You can write out your intent and read it, or scatter rose petals or recite chants of blessing--whatever cements in your consciousness the idea that you're creating a sacred space for yourself.

5. USING YOUR REFUGE. Use your refuge to contemplate, to journal, to wrap yourself in cozy warmth until you feel better--as a place to retreat to anytime you need to feel safe, centered, and nurtured.

I welcome photos of your refuges to inspire other readers, as well as your ideas on how to create a wonderful sacred space for self-care.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dealing With Emotional Winter

Several people have emailed me recently asking about how to deal with feeling no motivation, no passion in their lives. This made me think about the "emotional winter" we naturally go through after experiencing loss or change. Just like trees that lose their leaves when the air turns chilly, we humans tend to go into a state of shut-down when our "life weather" changes, particularly when we lose things that we loved or things that defined our world. We too "lose our leaves" so that we aren't recognizable to ourselves; our world seems as bleak and desolate as snow on the plains in February.

And we don't like winter, most of us, so we try to push for spring--we try not to feel so blue and bleak and everyone tells us to snap out of it because they don't like winter either. But the problem is, you can't force spring to come. Just as trees need to be barren for a while in order to renew themselves, we too need to allow ourselves to be dormant through the cold, dark season. We need to care for ourselves, give ourselves time to recover to make room for the new.

Here are some observations taken from nature about how to winter, adapted from the wise and wonderful book, The Seasons of Change, by Carol McLelland.

1. Animals hibernate. Winter is a time when the organism needs to take shelter, to find protection, to renew itself and rebuild resources. During your winter, you just might need to hibernate--to take time to be alone, to contemplate what you really want in life, to review what drains you, and who drains you…and who you can actually be yourself with. Keeping a journal is good during winter, as is giving yourself permission to say “No” to events or people who take it out of you.

2. Animals build dens. They create safe places, places to huddle against the forces of cold. You might try to create a safe haven in your home--a retreat space that feels cozy and safe; a place that’s just yours, where you can contemplate and renew. It can be a corner of a room, a closet, or a place outdoors. Put objects there that make you feel safe, happy, inspired. Spend time in your retreat den every day, journaling, contemplating, resting, taking refuge.

3. Plants lose foliage. They don’t try to cling to their leaves and flowers…in winter they must let go so that the new can grow. And yet, even when absolutely stripped of apparent life, the plants simply are dormant--not dead. Buds are there, waiting for the time when they’ll find support again to blossom. Likewise, you might need to let go of old habits, old routines, old things, old relationships. You might need to shed some things to make way for the new.

In other words, emotional winter is a time when you need to let go, protect and nurture yourself, and be patient. If you give yourself the space to reflect, renew, and rest that you need, you'll find to your own surprise that you have seeds of new inspiration to plant when spring comes--as it will.

Email me if you would like to take a "Seasons of Change" quiz, free, to find out what emotional season you are in now.

All best wishes to you,
The Life Change Coach

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Surprising Facts About Longevity

Have you ever noticed that in spite of the media blitz urging you to eat veggies and pump weights, some of the most health-conscious people you know seem to keel over at an early age, while others who eat junk and live fast keep on kicking up until their 90s? Perhaps it's because when it comes to longevity, psychology matters at least as much as biology. Consider the results of these four surprising studies looking at what controls longevity:

1. Attitudes about aging are more important than diet or exercise in extending your life. A study out of Yale University in 2002 followed 650 people, and found that those who had a positive outlook about their own aging outlived those with negative views by 7.5 years, on average, regardless of pre-existing health problems, lifestyle factors, socioeconomic status, or gender. In fact, the study found that attitude was the single most important factor in predicting longevity, after controlling for age. Another study in Norway found that the most optimistic subjects were 77 percent less likely to die of a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular cause than the most pessimistic subjects, regardless of weight, pre-existing cardiovascular issues, smoking, and so on.

2. Having a network of good friends increases lifespan significantly; family doesn't. The Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging looked at 1500 people aged 70 or older, and found that those with an extensive circle of friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22 percent. Having family around did not increase lifespan.

3. Continued schooling prolongs life. A 1999 study from Columbia University determined that ongoing education increases lifespan even more than having good medical care. Another study found that "each additional year of schooling for men in the U.S. is associated with an 8 percent reduction in mortality."

4. Finding meaning after loss is high on the longevity list. I heard years ago that the most significant factor in life extension--even more important than diet or exercise--is the ability to find meaning after losing loved ones. This becomes increasingly important with each passing year as we age, because inevitably, our friends and dear ones will start dying.

I'm not advising you to start gorging on chips and cupcakes--diet and exercise certainly do matter in life extension. But if you want to have a long, healthy, happy life--wheatgrass and aerobics alone won't do it. You need to cultivate friends, keep on learning, engage in activities that truly interest you, and find the gold in the process of getting older--and there is much to celebrate in the aging process. If you feel that you're stuck--that you just can't adjust your attitude or find the magic anymore or get yourself moving--consider getting some life coaching.

Best wishes,